We started planning this trip two years ago to coordinate 10 of us .. and then ended up with two more joining. Asia was a mystery to me and taking a cruise to an area I don't know much about is very appealing.
The trip did not disappoint and we had an amazing time both on and off the ship.
We have been on about 6 Princess cruises and this was one of the best. We had set dining time and our two table of 6 were well taken care of. The service in general, from the cabin stewards, to bar tenders , to deck staff etc was excellent. The entertainment was by far the best I have ever seen on a ship. The tenders and the port disembarkations were all organized and handled so well. The port talks were interesting and catered both to those taking Princess excursions as well as private ones or doing a port on your own.
Singapore- We started off with 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Express at Clarke Quay. This was one of the more modest priced hotels and was in an excellent location, with great amenities. A full buffet breakfast, a nice pool and deck, unlimited bottled water, cell phones for your use during the stay. Would definitely recommend.
Singpore is the most beautiful city. Very easy to get around on the MRT and we felt safe everywhere. Check out the Lua Pau Sat Hawker market. We went to others but this was the best. Some of the musts: Gardens by the Bay (do the domes and the light show), a trip up Marina Bay Sands (don't do the observation deck- buy a ticket to the bar and $22 dollars buys you a drink and a view as opposed to the $28 for just the view), Sentosa cable car, take the MRT to Chinatown, Little India, Bugis street and Arab street. Nowhere in this city is the same. The Marina Bay water/light show is great too. Really loved everything about this city.
Koh Samui- We took a taxi to Bophut and enjoyed looking in the markets and the beach is lovely. Had an amazing massage on the beach for the equivalent of 10 Canadian dollars. If you feel like a beer- don't go into a restaurant- buy it at 7-11. The water was nice to swim in but later found out about sea lice, which are harmless but wondered what was nipping at us.
Bangkok- We did a private tour rebooked with Thai Tour Guide. This was a great day with a very knowledgable guide Ms Aom. All my communications with this company were fantastic and we were well looked after. Saw the Grand Palace, The reclining Bhudda, took a long tail boat ride and went for lunch..
Ho Chi Min City- We had booked a private tour with Tour by Xuan. It really was a highlight. Our guide Mr. Lee just made our day.. so fun. We walked through markets, saw historical sites, did a trip shaw ride, crossed the road (which in itself is an excursion!) had vietnamese coffee, a really tasty lunch, visited the war museum. Highly highly recommend this company.
Penang- We did this on our own as the boat docks right in Georgetown. It was an extremely hot day when we were here. We went to the Peranakan Museum which showed the lifestyle of the rich over a century ago. We really enjoyed this - not expensive to get into and very good tour guide. The rest of the day was spent trying to get out of the heat. A little hard to get around- no sidewalks in most places. The place comes alive after dark and we found fantastic food on Chulia street night hawker stalls. We then grabbed a Tri Shaw back to the ship.
Phuket- Here we did the ships tour to Phi Phi Islands. I prefer private tours, however, there are some places I feel more comfortable with the ship's tour. This is definitely one of those if headed out to Phi Phi. Our boat had 35 people and I would not have wanted to be on anything smaller. This trip is marked as strenuous and as soon as I saw the dock with had to walk to get to the boat I understood why. About 15 of us headed out on a rolling dock with very little handrails until they stopped us and decided to bring boats in closer. I have the video to prove I braved the walk. haha.
About an hour of hitting waves - but it was all worth it. The beauty of this area is astounding. We snorkelled for about 45 min and swam... then stopped in at a couple other bays for photo ops. Then to Bamboo island to spend time on the beach. We also had lunch at a resort we had to wade into which was pretty cool. This tour is definitely not for anyone with any mobility issues. or perhaps sea sickness. For us it was very good, and again worth the travel time.
I was not aware that this voyage was considered two different cruises when I booked. One was a 7 day and one was a 4 day. Not sure I would knowingly do that again, as everything repeated itself on the four days... but we did get bonus internet time being platinum and it refreshed for the 4 day cruise.
Make sure you plan all your stops ahead. It would have been overwhelming had we not known what we were doing in these ports. Most were far away from where the ship docked.
For those who want to see Asia but are not too sure of how to do that... this is the perfect way to go! Enjoy!
After staying in a tiny room in Singapore this seemed big! The bed was very comfortable. This cabin had everything we wanted. I love this location on the ship. (under the spa) it was very quiet, yet close to pool and dining.
One of the best cities I have ever seen. Easy to get around on the MRT. Visit all the areas.. Chinatown, Little India, Bugis street, Orchard, Downtown, Clarke Quay. Marina Bay Sands for a drink (take the elevator up to the bar and includes a drink), night water and light show in Marina Bay.
We stayed at Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay and it was excellent.
We took a taxi to Bophut beach , did some shopping in the markets, spent time on the beach, swimming. Had a Thai massage on beach for equivalent of 10 dollars Canadian.
A very pretty place.
Private excursion with Thai Tour Guide. Excellent day.. saw Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha, had long tail boat ride and great food.
Private tour with Tour with Xuan. A must do here. Our tour guide Lee was the best. We saw many things here including the War Museum, had a trip shaw ride , temples.. this was a highlight of our trip.
My least favourite port but it could be because it was extremely hot and humid. We visited the Peranakan Mansion on our own. The city comes alive after dark.. had some amazing hawker food here.